Experience has shown that, after some political reconciliation talks, the concluding remarks usually include a statement which says, “ Let us forget the past.” Honestly speaking, this is just a mere unifying cliché which does not make much sense on serious issues.
It can be said without any contradiction that Malawians are suffering now because of having a short memory. Whether the short memory is by design is anybody’s guess. People are well aware that what compounded Dr Kamuzu Banda’s dictatorship was the unprecedented hero worshiping that he used to get. Naturally, after attaining democracy in 1994, it was expected that never again Malawians will be turned into sycophants and hero worship a Head of State.
Unfortunately, some people think that they cannot just support a President without sycophantly hero worshiping him. The worse results of such behavior is that the President no longer listens to anybody and rules with an iron fist. This is how the current economic mess under President Bingu wa Mutharika came about. Furthermore, the much feared dictatorship is back. Not even in the wildest dreams Malawians ever expected in a democracy to get threats of war from the State President.
Meanwhile, it goes without saying that for the socio/economic problems to turn around, people must never, ever forget how much they have suffered under President Mutharika and his DPP led government. The government’s belief that the economic chaos is not just unique to Malawi, is a scapegoat. There are countless examples which show that the country is suffering because of the inefficiency of government and not global effects. How come , while neighbouring Zambia, Tanzania and Mozambique have plenty of fuel , in Malawi motorists literally sleep for weeks at fuel stations just to be rationed with some 5 liters of fuel?
Without doubt the majority of Malawians would want to use the suffering as a wake up call for choosing future leaders. However, it is very likely that the DPP led government would want to remain in power. Therefore, it will come up with strategies to sugar coat the suffering and make people forget. Some of the strategies might be that suddenly the dormant infrastructure projects will come alive. Things like roads and school blocks will spring up. Even the fuel and forex will be available. For goodness sake only short sighted people can buy such short lived gestures.
In fact, no level of economic improvement can be big enough to erase the suffering Malawians have endured which includes loss of lives. This suffering under Mutharika has left an indelible mark in the minds of Malawians. It is naïve to ask them to forget.
Even if the economy is back to normal, what guarantee is there that it will not be messed up again? Honestly, there is no guarantee as long as the country will still be under the same DPP policies.
Malawians should say NO to forgetting the past. In fact, the Mutharika’s rule seems to have broken the record of being the worst regime for the past 48 years. Therefore, it is foolhardy to expect anyone to forget such poor performance with a devastating outcome which has left people shake their heads in total disbelief.
EMILY MKAMANGA. EMAIL [email protected]